My 100th Dive (aka Naked Dive) At Shaw's Cove

  • Updated: July 30, 2019
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst

July 30th, 2019

After putting it off for years I completed my scuba open water certification in December of 2018 and have spent the intervening months joyously diving pretty much every chance I get. I hit 25 dives in January, 50 in April, 75 in June, and after the recent Indonesia diving trip I was sitting at 95. Which after the big summer multi-sport road trip became 98. Then it was only logical to do a shore dive the morning I came back into town leaving me at the ever important 100th dive milestone.

In addition to being a nice satisfying number some people will tell you that the 100th dive is supposed to be done naked to celebrate the milestone. This seems to mostly be done in tropical areas and if Instagram is to be believed there seems to be a bit more female divers than males taking part (though that could possibly be due to the fact cold water is a bit more friendly to the female physique vs say your average pudgy white male.)

Several friends who have been diving for years hadn't heard of the whole 100th dive = naked dive thing but there's plenty of validation on the internet and I'm not one to buck a tradition. That is as long as I find it amusing.

And since I wasn't about to stop diving for any length of time until I could make it someplace tropical that left a southern California shore dive. So on a Tuesday morning Jen Blackie and myself headed out to my favorite local spot Shaw's Cove to get things done.


My girlfriend Jen was volunteered as my safety person / photographer for this momentous occasion and was graciously supportive if a bit incredulous that I actually wanted to go through with it. Something about her usually being cold in full body 7mm neoprene and thinking that I was going to freeze my ever-living beejeebies off.

When we first arrived and walked down to the beach to check surf conditions the beach wasn't too busy. But it seemed like our arrival at slack tide had opened the floodgates and we saw several large groups including children arrive as we were getting ready.


Not particularly wanting to be ticketed for public nudity I planned to wear a pair of swim trunks until I got into the water to spare the eyes of the local beach goers.

Once we were geared up the sight of me walking down wearing a BCD and swim trunks next to Jen in her full wetsuit did draw a few odd looks but we were soon bobbing a short distance away from shore far enough out it felt relatively safe to shuck.


After our final safety check off came the trunks which were securely stowed away in my BCD and we were off.


The initial part of the dive was spent trying to teach Jen how to properly use my dive camera in-between striking completely reasonable poses that totally wouldn't make my friends and family hold their head in shame / nausea. And after just a few false starts we were in business!


My fins are actually cold water fins intended to be worn with neoprene booties. However since I didn't want to cheat I'd decided to make do barefoot and warned Jen that she might have to go retrieve one if I lost it.

We swam over toward the reef veering away from what looked like a class if some sort that hopefully wasn't too traumatized by seeing a large white mass off in the distance.



The trench at Shaw's has a really neat swim-through area and seeing as how we had decent visibility (for CA shore diving) we went in.  There was actually a fair amount of water surging through here making it a bit of a challenge to avoid rubbing unprotected skin on the sharp rocks.

After that we went back out to the reef wall and headed further out. The water gets a bit chilly down there but I wasn't about to cheat and cut this dive off early.


I was swimming off ahead when I came across a few sheephead munching on the remains of a lobster. I hadn't seen this before and turned to motion Jen to get a picture when I noticed I'd suddenly become of rather intense interest to the fish.


If you're not aware sheephead have a rather significant set of teeth.


Normally they just kind of follow along and see if you kick anything up off the reef but these were flashing rather aggressively towards me.  I quickly realized divers out of wetsuits must look a lot more like food to them and did my best to cover all my dangly bits while rapidly swimming away.


Eventually after about 48 minutes of swimming around and dodging the occasional hungry fish I started to get a bit chilled and we moseyed back to the shore with a brief stop along the way to render me safe for beach-going eyes.


When we emerged on the beach we ran into a trio of divers who were wearing dry suits and getting ready to head in themselves.  At first they were a bit confused by my lack of a wetsuit but once they understood what was going on they were highly amused and nice enough to take our picture.

So there you have it, a 100% legit naked California shore dive.  So now that I'm past #100 what's next?  Well for starters we had a night dive planned for about 7 hours later. And if current plans work out I should be doing my next 100 dives at a bit faster rate...

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1 comments

  1. amazing pics matthew!!! im a diver as well and have abit of a ways to go before i reach 100 but i plan on doing it au naturel..do you have unedited versions of these pics anywhere? id love to see em..i originally saw your pic on the instagram site when i looked up 100th dive pics

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